Alternative Sewing Machine Control
AbstractThe introduction of 'A' level Craft, Design and Technology examinations emphasising a much wider area of study than the traditional material based craft examinations has brought the problem of choosing projects which fulfil the requirements of the examination and are sufficiently stimulating for the 'A' level student to maintain interest in what must be an in-depth study. A well organised 'A' level C.D.T. course should include working through practical problems involving research, synthesis, practical construction, testing and evaluation, and probably most important a critical appraisal of what has been achieved. The very nature of any project must be intellectually demanding and draw on other skills and knowledge. The recent Design Council report 'Design Education at Secondary Level' emphasises the value of these skills by saying - 'In design, examinations must also test their aptitudes and abilities in applying their knowledge including skills of analysis and synthesis in the one hand and flair and imagination on the other'.
The essence of any good design project at 'A' level must be that it has:-
(a) a realistic element of research within the constraints of an 'A' level course,
(b) provide new learning experience for the student including craft skills,
(c) sufficient scope for original thinking,
(d) be capable of producing a variety of valid solutions,
(e) the solution must enable the student to demonstrate his/her ability as a craftsman,
(f) produce a final solution which can be tested and evaluated in a positive way.
All are unknowns until the project is underway.
This account of David Parkins 'Alternative Sewing Machine Controller' project demonstrates how the project developed and serves to illustrate how its designer overcame the 'unknowns' and brought the project to a satisfactory conclusion. It also illustrates that even though we try to break down the design process into units such as design brief, analysis of the problem and research, very often the solving of one problem can create another requiring further research and development. An important factor proved to be that as the project proceeded David always had his aim clearly defined so ultimately he produced a good solution to the problem.